Marble Hornets - A reflection on an on-going thing.
[A few words – well, 650 words - on a series about two kids scared of a man with a very good tailor.]
Some of you will be aware of the Marble Hornets phenomena on Youtube. For those that aren't, let me introduce you.
Marble Hornets is a big thing now-a-days - in some horror-obsessed circles at least – but I want to go back to that primitive and ignorant age of 2009, when Marble Hornets was just two scruffy kids with a video camera and a meme to exploit.
The initial premise of Marble Hornets was about the then unseen protagonist Jay going through his friend Alex’s old videos, left over from a student film he was making named ‘Marble Hornets’. The story here is that while film Alex showed odd behaviour developing, and acted erratically – even filming himself for long periods of time – before stopping the production and leaving. While searching through these videos Jay finds certain unsettling scenes that Alex captured both on and off set of the fictional Marble Hornets, but particularly off set. The more Jay discovers, the more history seems to be repeating, and he begins to exhibit the same erratic behaviour Alex showed.
Today the series is a lot more sophisticated, with a liner plot and a number of characters interacting. But initially it was just two, or often one character filming strange happenings for the audience who then had to fit every new entry into a plot as they understood it. It was truly experimental, well acted and well written, and though this second session that we are in now is still well acted and well written, and still very interesting it does not have the same appeal as the first session simply because there isn’t as much audience interaction in the story.
In the first session the production value was of rather low quality too. This aided to the overall feel of the series they were making. The low-tech nature of the first session of Marble Hornets also imposed some restrictions that those making the series had to overcome. And overcome they did, and rather ingeniously too. This is something that EverymanHYBRID has continued with; but that other series has bogged down and became irrelevant.
The whole idea behind Marble Hornets is so like the novel House of Leaves that I was surprised to find that those making the series had not even heard of the book until the start of session two. But everything is still there, bizarre distortion in the video evidence, footage that apparently was not there before, and a cryptic storyline that feels like it has been progressing for years before the series started.
As a matter of fact, it actually has, regardless of the time jumps that has happened in the series, the main antagonist of Marble Hornets is an entity known as 'The Slender Man', which was an internet meme before Marble Hornets existed, and has grown so realistic it can actually be better described as the internet’s first Folk Tale, or Urban Legend.
This is also what I loved about Marble Hornets when it first started. It so reminded me of the story The Call of Cthulhu because it did really feel like you were watching and helping in the uncovering of something. It felt almost real, almost like it could happen, like it was an urban legend or a folk tale come to life. Now, with the second session a lot of this has gone in favour of a more linear, more simplistic plot that, while still very interesting – and it explores the characters a lot more than the first session, it has lost that sense of exploration that the first session had so strongly.
However, this is not to say that session 2 of Marble Hornets isn’t great, and if you have only just heard about this series then do yourself a favour and check it out.
beware of 2theaRk
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